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Charlotte Heth and Karen Faye Taborn

Native American group of Creek origin formerly referred to as the Lower Creek. They began to migrate from their towns in the present state of Georgia into northern Florida in the early 18th century. Increasing conflicts with Anglo-Americans led the majority of Seminoles to relocate to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) in the 1830s where they continue to share some of their music and ceremonies with the nearby Creek Indians today. The remaining Seminoles presently reside in the Everglades and the Big Cypress Swamp region of Florida....

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Vessel rattle of the Flathead Indians of Montana, USA. It is made by cutting a piece of hide and sewing it into a spherical shape, 7 to 12 cm in diameter, with an extension about 10 cm long to wrap around a wooden handle. The hide is wetted and filled with wet sand, then moulded into shape and allowed to dry, and the sand emptied. Small pebbles are inserted as rattle elements, and the handle is secured to the base of the body. Normally the rattle is not decorated either with feathers or paint. When used for the ‘begging around camp’ ceremony it is called ...

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Rattle of the Aztec (Nahua) people of pre-Contact Mexico. It was a three-legged clay vase with clay pellets inside the hollow legs. The name also refers to other clay vessels containing seeds, stones, or other pellets. According to Molina (Vocabulario en lengua mexicana, 1571...

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Canari  

J. Richard Haefer

Guitar-like plucked chordophone of the Huichol (Wixáritari or Wirr’ariki) people of west-central Mexico. It is slightly larger than a violin. Typically the soundbox, neck (with four to six frets), nut, and pegboard are carved from a single piece of wood, and a thin piece of cedar serves as a soundtable; the soundbox is only slightly waisted or even oval. A bridge is attached to the soundtable using glue from a local plant. The four or five strings can be of metal, monofilament nylon, or gut. It is played with the ...

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Suspension rattle of the Flathead people of Montana, USA. It is a stick about 100 cm long with 20 to 25 split deer hoofs and dewclaws tied near the top. It is carried during the winter spirit dance and medicine dance, when it is struck against the ground to the beat of the song....

Article

J. Richard Haefer

End-blown flute of the Flathead Indians of Montana, USA. Often called a courting flute, it is made from elderberry or fir and is about 45 cm long and 2 cm in diameter. The soft elderberry pith is burnt out with a heated metal rod and six ...

Article

Suspension rattle of the Atacameño people of the Atacamá Desert, province of Antofagasta, northern Chile. It is formed by attaching four to 12 solid objects in a row to a leather thong which is shaken to produce the rattle sound. In pre-Contact times small metal balls were used; nowadays small pellet bells are preferred. It is identical with archaeological specimens of the extinct Diaguita culture. It is played with the ...

Article

Mary Riemer-Weller and J. Richard Haefer

Generic term for rattle among the Ojibwe (Ojibwa, Anishinaabe) people in the Great Lakes region of the USA and Canada. Three forms exist. The first, a cylindrical vessel rattle, is made by wrapping birchbark around two wooden disks, with a wooden handle inserted through both discs. The body is 11 to 15 cm tall and 10 to15 cm in diameter, and contains small pebbles or buckshot. The second form is a disc-shaped vessel made from a narrow wooden hoop 20 to 30 cm in diameter and 1 to 3 cm thick, covered on both sides with hide; it contains pebbles or buckshot. A long extension (20 to 30 cm) of the hoop serves as a handle. Usually three of the first type and one of the second are used together by the ...

Article

Victoria Lindsay Levine

Dance rattle of the Cherokee people of the southern USA. Each rattle consists of four to 20 containers made from box turtle shells or evaporated-milk cans, the number depending upon the dancer’s age and experience and on whether she is wearing shells or cans. The overall size of the rattle is approximately 28 cm by 31 cm, and a pair of rattles weighs about 2.7 kg. The containers are drilled with small soundholes at regular intervals, and each is filled with rounded pebbles. Shells and cans are tied vertically with wire to a leather backing so that they do not strike against each other. Cherokee women wear the rattles during nighttime dances at ceremonial grounds. First they wrap their lower legs with a towel or piece of foam rubber and then tightly tie the rattles on with leather thongs, wearing one rattle on each leg. The choreography involves a quick, double gliding step that provides rhythmic accompaniment to the song in an even subdivision of the beat. Ceremonial dances generally last all night; ideally, once a dancer dons her leg rattles, she wears them until sunrise. Chickasaw, Delaware, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Shawnee, Yuchi (Euchee), and other southeastern Indian female dancers wear similar leg rattles. Each tribe has its own word for leg rattles, for example Creek, ...

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Percussion board of the Dena’ina (Tanaina Athabascan) people of Alaska. It is a plank, usually of poplar, about 1 metre long by 25 cm wide and 3 to 4 cm thick. It is struck with two wooden sticks. Two holes about 4 cm in diameter are drilled near each end of the board for cords that suspend it from the rafters of the ceremonial house. The board may be decorated with the tail of a sea mammal at one end and the head at the other, or with other clan symbols such as the raven or beaver. The board is used to accompany singing in the potlatch ceremonies. The Yup’ik of Siberia have a similar instrument....